Dynasty rankings are in constant flux and staying informed is the key to making roster decisions for your fantasy football team. The Dynasty Watch series highlights some key takeaways from each week’s games.
So, you blew it.
You went into the season riding a rocket-fueled adrenaline high. No one was gonna beat this team. No sir, not this year. This was your year, and nothing was going to stand in your way.
And now as the dust settles and you realize your chances of making the playoffs fall somewhere on the scale between Denver Broncos (slim) and Oakland Raiders (none), it’s time to look to the future. That roster spot you filled with Brandon LaFell in a last-ditch effort to win Week 10 and keep yourself alive? That needs to be filled with someone who isn’t old enough to play for Jon Gruden.
Last year’s list turned up a few players who revitalized their dynasty value early in the season, such as Quincy Enunwa, Geronimo Allison, and Matt Breida. Though injuries struck Enunwa and Allison, they were both players you could’ve had for free and then enjoyed their useful fantasy performances when they were on the field in 2018.
Let’s look at the dynasty stashes you should be adding to rosters this year, players who could see their value rebound in 2019.
The Injured Reserve All Stars
In leagues with no, or few, IR slots, many marginal players who got hurt this year ended up being dropped. Obviously high picks like Derrius Guice and Hunter Henry aren’t going to be on the waiver wire, but plenty of marginal players have gradually found their way there.
Marqise Lee – Injured during the preseason, Lee is in just the first year of a four-year contract with the Jaguars that realistically has no out until 2020. The Jaguars currently have a bevy of wide receivers and an uncertain future at quarterback, so it’s hard to say what they might look like next year, but with what Lee is being paid he’ll almost certainly be given every opportunity to retake his role as the go-to option on the team.
Jake Butt – Remember when Jeff Heuerman popped off for 10/83/1 in Week 9? With Demaryius Thomas finally out of town, we may never again see the Broncos funnel 50 percent of their targets to their top two WRs. Though it feels like Heuerman hasn’t been around that long, that’s only because he’s been riddled with injuries during his first three seasons, so he’s actually an unrestricted free agent at the end of 2018, meaning Butt may have less competition.
The caveat here is that this is actually Butt’s third ACL injury, as he tore his right ACL twice in college, and then tore his left ACL after three games this year.
Here’s what RotoViz’s own Dr. Jeff Budoff had to say about Butt’s multiple ACL tears:
Once you tear your ACL, you’re at increased risk for tearing the other ACL. So that’s not a surprise. The reasons are a combination of the patient’s activity level + the fact that ACL tears are correlated with smaller diameter ACLs. So if one ACL is a little small, the opposite is too. So tearing both ACLs isn’t a big deal.
The issue is the revision ACL on the right… two reconstructions on the same knee often has permanent effects (loss of quadriceps strength (jumping, acceleration power), stiffness, loss of top end speed). Players don’t always come back well from this, especially in the 1st year back….
If he came back strong after his 2nd right ACL reconstruction before tearing his left ACL, he should do well. If he never got back to 100% after his 2nd right reconstruction, that may continue to hamper him.
We don’t have much of a sample to say how well he really returned from the second ACL reconstruction on his right knee, but the fact that he led the Denver TE group in targets, receptions, yards, and expected points through the first three weeks is promising.
The real play here though may just be to hang on to Heuerman in the event the Broncos re-sign him. Even if they don’t, he could land somewhere else with opportunity in the depth chart.
Though Heuerman isn’t being peppered with downfield targets, he’s been getting a ridiculous amount of work in the red zone, and that doesn’t even include a TD he had in Week 7 that resulted in “no play” due to a phantom OPI call. There may be a new coaching staff in Denver in 2019, but Thomas’ departure could allow the Denver TE position to be fantasy-viable again, even if Courtland Sutton can absorb much of Thomas’ workload.1
Rex Burkhead – Likely still owned in most leagues, but make sure you check to see if any owners dropped him in shallower dynasty formats.2 Not only could Burkhead be a valuable stash for 2019, he has already been designated to return from IR and should be active for the Patriots by Week 13. Sony Michel has already missed multiple games with injury this year, and the Patriots forced Cordarelle Patterson into running back duties in his absence. Burkhead could be a huge asset in the playoffs if anything happens to Michel again.
Albert Wilson – Did the Wilson owner in your league drop him after his injury? He may be more than just a flash in the pan, and though he’ll miss the rest of this season, the recovery timeline should have him ready for 2019.Though the Dolphins already exercised his fifth-year option, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them part ways with DeVante Parker next year after his highly public feud with the team. Wilson’s contract doesn’t have an out until 2020, and there’s every reason to believe he’ll be a major part of the offense if he can return healthy next year. What that offense may look like is anyone’s guess, as Adam Gase is on the hot seat, but hopefully it won’t involve Brock Osweiler.
Deon Cain – Quick, name all the WRs the Colts have used this year. Dontrelle Inman, Marcus Johnson, and Zach Pascal have all made appearances for the Colts, but none of them are exactly lighting the world on fire. Heck, neither are starters Chester Rogers and Ryan Grant.
Cain was a late-round pick with an early injury, and he may have been jettisoned by his owner when they needed roster space early this year. The Colts have been throwing the ball a lot under new coach Frank Reich. This is absolutely an offense you should buy for the future, and Cain has precious little competition on the depth chart right now. Even if the Colts add talent going into 2019,3 Cain should get a shot at a role in the offense.
Cameron Meredith – As much as it pains me to include him for the second straight year, it seems as though Meredith’s knee never fully recovered from the gruesome injury he suffered in 2017. This time around Meredith only needs an arthroscopic cleanup though, so there’s a chance he returns at full strength in 2019.
Trey Quinn – He’s not a stash, he’s a guy to pick up and use right now. I just wanted to remind everyone that he was activated from IR this week and that the Washington WR corps is currently decimated by injury.4 Their passing game isn’t exciting, but if Maurice Harris was able to be a thing for a few weeks, there’s absolutely no reason Quinn can’t come in and immediately produce.
The Free Agents
Sometimes all it takes is a change of scenery to boost a player’s value. Players like Jerick McKinnon and Trey Burton went from bouncing on and off the waiver wire in 2017 to being highly drafted in 2018 after big free agent moves.
Adam Humphries – He’s basically been an average player throughout his NFL career thus far, but he’s improved incrementally each year.
Still just 26, Humphries will become a free agent at the end of this season and could end up on a team where he’ll be a larger part of the offense. He’s likely been picked up already after a couple hot weeks, but he’ll probably end up back on the waiver wire before the season is over. His 2019 value will be highly dependent on his destination in free agency, but would it really shock anyone to see him end up with a team like the Patriots?5
Chris Conley – Maybe it should tell us something that the league’s best offense seems to have little use for Conley, but then again Andy Reid used the aforementioned Albert Wilson sparingly too, and he was on track for a good season after his move to the Dolphins. Conley’s calling card has always been his freakish athleticism, but there’s a long list of WRs who are freaks but never become productive players.
Still, we typically see at least one player have a fifth-year breakout, often after changing teams. Given a choice between the two, I’d still bet on the much more productive Humphries to be that guy over Conley, but it’s not unthinkable that Conley could thrive in another environment.
Jordan Matthews – It wasn’t so long ago that Matthews was a premium dynasty asset. He’s played well in his limited action thus far for the Eagles, and if he can stay healthy may have a role there, or elsewhere, in 2019. There are plenty of reasons to be concerned Matthews will never regain the kind of production he had in his first few years, but at a price of “free” it won’t cost you anything to see where he lands next season.
Spencer Ware – In many leagues, Ware is rostered simply because he’s Kareem Hunt’s backup. Ware will become a free agent at the end of 2018 though, and will have an opportunity to get out of Hunt’s shadow. While Ware doesn’t necessarily profile as a player who will get a big deal in free agency to become a starter, there’s a chance he could end up in a committee where he has standalone value and the potential for more work if he plays well or there are injuries around him.
Corey Grant and T.J. Yeldon – Grant could have also made it into the IR section – his season ended in Week 5 with a Lisfranc injury to his foot – but I decided to lump both Jacksonville RBs in here as they’re in a similar situation. Both will be free agents heading into 2019, and both have flashed ability in the past, Grant with strong rushing work on limited touches in 2016 and 2017 and Yeldon with a solid resume as a pass-catcher.
Yeldon is probably already owned in most leagues, but with the return of Leonard Fournette and some tight bye weeks, he may be dropped in some shallower formats. Grant on the other hand is likely widely available. Though neither back is likely to be more than part of a committee if they move on from the Jaguars, each could find themselves in situations more favorable than Jacksonville’s currently crowded RB depth chart.
Teddy Bridgewater – I can’t tell you that Bridgewater will be good, but I can tell you that he’s the only quarterback under age 30 who will be a free agent next year and hasn’t already either gotten a shot and failed, or been cut by his original team without ever really seeing the field. In the only two seasons we got to see Bridgewater play, he was a young QB playing in a slow-paced system. He missed two entire years of football, and all we have to go on now as far as actual recent game action is some preseason work with the Jets.
The 2019 QB class is shaping up to be a poor one according to most analysts, so it would be surprising if a QB-needy team didn’t take a shot on Bridgewater and at least give him a chance to compete for the starting job.
- Also note that rookie TE Troy Fumagalli should be healthy next year after spending this season on IR. He’s another name to throw in the hat for the starting TE job. (back)
- I’ve seen him dropped in some 20-man roster leagues. (back)
- And really, they almost have to. (back)
- And that the currently injured Jamison Crowder is a free agent at the end of the year. (back)
- Or, maybe he just re-signs with Tampa Bay. (back)